March 2003
  The newsletter for buyers and suppliers of castings and forgings

Belgian mechanical industry resisting to recession by innovation.


2002 was a cloudy year for the Belgian technology industry in general and there is little sight of improvement for 2003. At least, that is what we can read from a study made by AGORIA, the technology industry's federation, amongst their member companies. Production dropped by 6% in 2002 and even further decline is expected in 2003. However, the mechanical & mechatronical engineering industries made an exception to this rule and resisted relatively well to the present recession, maintaining a slight growth.

Jos Pinte, Director of AGORIA Mechanical & Mechatronical Engineering, explains;" The market is under constant change. Customers are more and more demanding high valued added solutions that cover all their needs. It is no longer machines that should be the centre of focus but the needs of their customers. The classic manufacturing company must become an end-end solutions provider. We expect that in the coming years, services will represent 20-30% of the sector's turnover.

Belgian buyers seem largely content with the scope of local subcontractors with whom they are used to working with. The few companies who manage to penetrate the market are those who bring high value-added, either in terms of innovation or a competitive quality/price ratio.

Key Figures

In 2001 AGORIA Mechanical & Mechatronical sector counted 675 member companies which represents about 55% of the total. One of their main objective is obviously to stimulate technological innovation amongst their members.

The Mechanic & Mechatronical market
Number of companies
7.532 M€
8.085 M€
Export ratio
45 000
42 601
224,2 M€
208 M€

The economic climate in the mechanical & mechatronical sector was reversed in 2001. After a strong growth during 2000, different sub sectors experiences a slump in their activity. Turnover did however increase by 4.4%, a progression almost entirely due increase in deliveries of rail constructions by the BOMBARDIER group. Employment also grew by 0.4% despite of the poor economic climate. The evolution of the sub- sector is underlined by the increased importance of services in the subcontracting industries. The sub-sectors saw their turnover soar by 10% as well as increased employment. Generally, Mechanical and Mecatronical industry has resisted well, which is a pleasant surprise considering the cyclical nature of this sector.

Foreign trade.

Almost 80% of imports derive from European Union countries, of which 24% from Germany, 19% from France and 18% from the Netherlands.

Principle countries
Quantity (tons)
Value (M€)
Total Imports
15 516 800
11 037
Thereof EU
12 349 203
8 774
3 251 266
3 367 728
2 088
3 450 847
1 976
Source: BNB


Contact: Jos Pinte, Directeur, Mécanique & Mécactonique
Tel: +32 2 706 79 77 - Fax: +32 2 706 79 88

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